Friday, September 20, 2019

Puerto Rico governor warns Trump that he will sue the president over national emergency declaration

Yesterday Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló threatened legal action against President Trump if American citizens foot the bill for his long-desired border wall shortly after the White House said the president would issue an emergency declaration to secure funding for the structure.

“Is it now Puerto Rico and California (American Citizens) that will pay for the wall?” Rosselló tweeted. “If this is the case, we’ll see you in court.” The governor’s comments came in response to a September 2016 tweet in which Trump declared “Mexico will pay for the wall!”

The White House said Thursday that Trump will declare a national emergency to secure money to construct the wall after a bill brokered by lawmakers only included $1.375 billion in funding for roughly 55 miles of new barriers along the southern border. The move is likely to draw swift legal challenges, and several Republican lawmakers have expressed concerns that an emergency declaration will set a dangerous precedent for future administrations.

It’s unclear what funds the White House intends to draw up to fund the wall through an emergency declaration. Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said Sunday that the president would take money from whatever sources are available.

Some GOP lawmakers said he could look to an $800 million defense fund dedicated to drug interdiction. A substantial portion of that money, more than $200 million, was already being used for ongoing anti-drug operations.

Rosselló had previously warned Trump amid reports that the administration was considering using disaster recovery funding to go toward the wall. Puerto Rico is still recovering from the damage sustained during Hurricane Maria in 2017.

THE HILL